Always Activity on Hard Drive, Why?

By rmdl51
May 1, 2009
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  1. Ok I recently Installed everything fresh and a posibility of a virus or spyware is minimal, I have Kaspersky installed and a few applications I need, such as clone dvd, any dvd, Nero, Office 2007, all drivers and a few more small programs.

    I have Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit and I'm concerned my Hard drive is always on activity, I can hear it spinning and the led is blinking all the time.

    What could be the causes of this? if it's a software program reding/writing on HDD, how can I spot it? Thanks!
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Likely Vista Defrag
    It's running as a task in the background ;)

    By the way, you can turn off many not required startups with this tool: http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml

    Kaspersky is also high on resource so there's nothing you can do about that except replace it (I use free Avira Antivirus)
  3. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    Can I stop Vista defrag from running background?
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    Yes :)

    You can go to tasks in Control Panel, and remove the task itself
    Vista Defrag has been made better than earlier version of Windows Defrag, but it is a bit much to have it going all the time (just about)

    Vista computers may experience more fragmentation than WinXP-based systems because of all of the disk swapping that takes place. Consequently, it is important that Vista users defragment frequently to preserve their computers’ performance

    Microsoft automatically schedules a defragmentation to occur every Wednesday at 1am

    Manually defrag C: -a -v

    The defragmentation engine itself is more powerful in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 than in earlier versions of Windows

    If there is any free space at all, Defrag will make an attempt to defragment the volume. (ie does not require 15% Minimum like Xp did)



    1. Click Start.

    2. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.

    3. Click Control Panel.

    4. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.

    5. Click System and Maintenance.

    6. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.

    7. Under the Administrative Tools section at the bottom, click Defragment your hard drive.

    8. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.

    9. Click or unclick Run automatically (recommended) depending if you want this feature enabled or disabled.

    10. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.

    11. Click OK

    12. Click OK to the UAC if it appears.
  5. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 368

    So, it's actually 6 steps without UAC right? LOL :)

    Thanks a lot! I'm trying to set my fan speeds because my computer is to loud and then I can hear my HDD more than the fans and it was so annoying, so hopefully it's only Vista defrag causing this...
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,283   +281

    Disk swapping is know as paging and it is always into the predefined file pagefile.sys. The old XP system config defaulted into Let Windows Manage and typically resulted in a Min/Max specification for pagefile.sys size.

    That setting allows pagefile.sys to grow as needed and if needed, the disk would rattle quiet a bit to expand the file -- and that induces fragmentation into the pagefile.sys itself, BUT NOTHING ELSE :) A far better choice is to FIX the size of the pagefile.sys to create MIN = MAx = 2x real ram installed. Reboot and then installing PageDefrag to get the file back into one clump and paging becomes far more efficient.

    For those suffering with Vista, I doubt that Virtual Memory management has changed, but hey -- this IS Microsoft.

    Just my $0.02
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